Recently, I was reading the outline for a new ebook called Trust::Data: A New Framework for Identity and Data sharing which explores the idea of creating Personal Data Stores or PDS. Supporting Universal Access, an individual’s PDS mediates requests from third parties to access or use personal data. It’s in my library to explore further, but reading it brought me back to something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
Ever since payments have been enabled online, I’ve been intrigued by the idea that individuals should have control over their payment credentials, not the other way around. We have some small modicum of control since we have to give permission for our bank or other payment enabler to provision or access our accounts, but once that’s done, there’s little left for us to do other than manage accounts on an individual basis.
But what if the user controlled one’s payment accounts through a centralized service they owned? A service that sits up top in the value stream and controls such things as…
- Account storage
- User credentials
- Access and usage rules
- Alerts and notifications
…all of which is institution-agnostic, but accessed and used through a common security protocol. I think of it as my Payments ID (P-ID). I apply for it, as one would do for any other license, identification or registration and once setup, I take it with me wherever I go, as I would any other ID credential. My P-ID becomes a proxy account-to-many, meaning that it stands in for whichever payment account or funding source I wish to use at the time.
Merchants certify to process P-ID-generated transactions once instead of to myriad different wallet and payment schemes. Consumers assume more responsibility for their transactions, so chargebacks and disputes are better controlled.
Yes, this would require governance and licensing, technical standards development and maintenance, but why not allow consumers to register their P-ID through any licensed financial institution and let entities bid on the technical development and maintenance. As far as governance goes, we have any number of agencies that could provide that, both here and abroad.
As digital payments and virtual funding sources and accounts proliferate, the weight of supporting all of the schemes from an acceptance and governance perspective, will become unsustainable. It will be necessary, perhaps imperative, to simplify and consolidate. There’s no reason that that consolidation can’t ultimately be put into the hands of consumers themselves except that’s its something we haven’t done since the era of one person, one bank account.
One person, one Payment ID-period.